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FIRE

Immigrant firefighters hired ‘to stop attacks’

The Swedish fire service is looking to hire more personnel with a foreign background in order to increase safety for fire fighters in big city areas, according to a report by Swedish broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT)

Immigrant firefighters hired 'to stop attacks'

”At one point some kids were throwing rocks at us. I caught hold of a guy and spoke to him in his own language,” said Ilhan Demir of the South Stockholm fire service to SVT.

The diversity project is meant to widen recruitment, according to SVT, not in the least when it comes to attracting staff with a different background than the traditional Swedish.

It is hoped that it will overcome language barriers and increase security for fire personnel in the big city areas.

The project will cost 7.5 million kronor ($1.1 million) and will be funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). Part of the money will go to the South Stockholm (Södertörn) fire service.

”We’re about 300 on active call-out duty, of which only 18 are of a different background than Swedish. There needs to be more,” said Christer Flodfält, union representative for the fire service to SVT.

According to the broadcaster it has become more frequent that fire personnel are attacked with stones and other objects and it is hoped that the new initiative may bridge the gap between the fire fighters and the gangs of unruly kids.

”This is a very important project,” said fire fighter Nadia Jelili to SVT.

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FIRE

Stockholm firefighters tackle bus depot blaze

Emergency services in Stockholm were continuing on Tuesday morning to tackle a fire that started in a bus depot almost 24 hours earlier.

Stockholm firefighters tackle bus depot blaze
File photo of a fire engine in Stockholm: Pontus Lundahl / TT

The fire, which began at around 10.30am on Monday, is likely to cause problems with traffic diversions and irregular public transport throughout Tuesday, according to SL, the company which runs the capital city's public transport.

“It's still burning and we don't know yet how long we will need to be there. Probably the whole day,” said Hans Eriksson from the Stockholm fire service. “Now we are concentrating on protecting the other surrounding buildings.”

The fire began in connection with work on the roof of the building, which contains a large bus depot and the connected offices.

Eriksson said: “It's an old building with a roof built in a complicated way and construction work, so we haven't wanted to sent people up to the roof and fight the fire from within. That's another reason it's taken longer.”

No buses are reported damaged as most of the fleet were on Stockholm's roads at the time of the fire.

Police have opened an investigation into carelessness endangering of the public.

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